Monday, May 02, 2011

Vote early. Vote often. But vote.

I probably didn't have time to vote today. Had a lot on my plate workwise and lifewise, and really could have used a little less time-stress as I moved from one thing to another - and yet another - on my schedule.

But 154 dead Canadians in Afghanistan are only the latest reminders of why my right to pick up a pencil and scratch an X on a ballot is a privilege that has limitless value. My daughter has every right to pursue the life she wishes while girls just like her a world away are treated like something less than human. We are so awash in opportunity here that we fail to take the time to appreciate what it took to achieve it. We take what we've got for granted, to the point that over 40% of us can't be bothered to head over to the polling station to vote.

We argue that politicians fail to speak for us. That campaigning - and the entire political process - has devolved into unspeakable nastiness that has nothing to do with the issues. We complain about minority governments and gridlock on Parliament Hill. I don't disagree with any of it. But those who choose to stay home perpetuate the things about democracy that bother them. Worse, they fail to respect the legacy of those who fought - and died - for all we have today.

So I made the time. If you're an eligible Canadian voter, I hope you make it, too. Polls close at 9:30 p.m. local time.

Your turn: Why do you vote? If you don't, why don't you?

One more thing: I'll be on-air with /A\ News tonight, live-blogging/tweeting/broadcasting the vote with a team of London's top social media experts. Tara Overholt leads our coverage from the Internet Cafe site, while anchor Dan MacLellan holds the fort back at the main studio. Click here for more background. Other ways to get involved:
  • Like us on Facebook (canadavotes).
  • Follow us (@atvnewslondon) on Twitter.
  • Search for our hashtag: #anewsvote
  • Or just get involved any way you wish. It'll be fun.


Max said...

Congratulations! I, too, am an avid voter. It recently occurred to me that we here in the US, and from your post in Canada too, have no one to blame but ourselves for the failures of our government. I know very little about your system to the north, but I know that the founding fathers of the US set up a system that allows for corrections and adjustments when things go wrong, if the general populace gives a damn enough to tear their faces away from American Idol long enough to think about the issues and cast their vote backed with knowledge, not just hot button rhetoric. (Wow, that is one long sentence.) It annoys me beyond belief that in the last Presidential election around half the people didn't even bother to vote. A lot of people claim that they don't vote because it doesn't matter, because they'd be voting for the lesser of two evils. Ok, that may be true, but the truth is also that if the general public started to, and continued to, vote from knowledge rather than emotion, our choices would get better. We get the choices we get because politicians know we're not paying attention and too many people will vote "R" or "D" regardless of who runs.
The general public could take back their government if they cared enough not to be lazy voters.

Twain12 said...

i vote for the same reasons you talked about..i'm an immigrant and wasn't able to vote for years until in 2003 when i finale received my citizenship. I have voted ever since, sometimes my conscience , sometimes strategic. Mostly my choices didn't win, but i do believe they give me a voice and at least i can complain LOL

The English Teacher said...

I never used to vote until about 12 years ago or so. I was familiar with the story about how my grandmother, a single day away from delivering my mother, hauled her very pregnant body down to the polls to vote, even though my grandfather didn't want her to, claiming she'd just cancel out his vote so it wouldn't do any good. Then one day it hit me: Grandma was so eager to vote in that election because it was only the second time it was legal for her to do so! Grandma had only voted once before that pregnancy vote BECAUSE SHE WAS A WOMAN and she'd never been allowed to vote before.
That did it for me.
Grandma would be pleased to know that I never miss an election now -- because I don't have to, thanks to women like her.

Canadian Mark said...

My Memere always said (seriously, at least twice a week), "If you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain about the way the country is being run."

Even if you don't agree with any candidate, a protest vote (voting for all candidates) makes a statement and lets your voice be heard... lets the powers know that they are accountable.

Earth to Anne said...

I absolutely agree with everything you just wrote :)

Imaginography said...

Ever since I became eligible to vote I have exercised my right to do so. I do not take it for granted at all like others around me who sit and whinge but don;t exercise their right. I told one recently that they have no right to complain about the Government if they didn't vote as they chose not to participate. I agree with what Max said in his comment.

Anonymous said...

It's already been stated here quite well, but I'll throw in my two cents: Voting is a right and a privilege that we should never take for granted.

MB said...

I have voted in every single election since I turned 18. I vote because men and woman cross oceans and put their life on the line for our right to do so.

fredamans said...

Personally, as a Canadian, I don't think you have the right to complain about what the government does if you do not go and vote. How can you have an opinion on something you tossed aside?!
Voting means you have a say. Even if your party loses.

lepifera said...

I only voted for the 1st time last year, not in Canada, but on the island off the coast from China. Before that, I spent many years in countries where I did not have voting rights.

It is indeed a privilege. I am looking forward to voting in the 1st woman president in about a year and a half's time.